There was a huge turnout at the recent Irish Natura and Hill Farmers Association Forestry Conference.
The room was packed full of people, from Leitrim and West Cavan areas. They called for an Action Plan to be put in place to save their lands from being turned into forestry. They called for the plan, to help save their traditional farming practices, communities, towns and villages.
One the Night:
A presentation was given by the INHFA on the night, with factual data collected from various sources, including the DAFM annual Forests statistics. It also included a slideshow, showcasing the malpractices carried out by those involved in the forestry sector, as well as the impact the destruction is having on local wildlife.
Examples were shown, or areas with high concentrations of afforestation, which are rich in natural biodiversity. It showed the serious direct, indirect and cumulative negative impacts of the afforestation.
These negative impacts include Habitat Loss, Water Pollution and fragmentation of flora and fauna, along with local communities and established local farming practices.
"we must all listen to the people who have spoken here tonight.They have called for a plan of action, a plan of action to save their counties, their farm families, local communities, towns and villages and the family farm". Said INHFA spokesperson Gerry Loftus at the meeting.
Loftus the continued by pledging the commitment of the INHFA to work alongside the people of Leitrim and West Cavan, to ensure that the Association would be taking a certain course of action to help the farmers and communities in those areas.
He stated that the INHFA would be taking the following course of action in the near future and will be meeting with Minister Andrew Doyle to highlight the fear within those communities.
A number of other recommendations were also made at the meeting, which you can read below:
- A private members bill in the Oireachtas to amend forestry planning regulations
- A ban on clear felling
- Compulsory vaccination and microchipping of badgers that become displaced during current clear felling practices
- Grant aid for Deer-proof fencing.
- Higher grant aid for farmer-owned plantations.
- Proper 20m fire belts surrounding plantations.
- Oireachtas to bring forward legislation to make agricultural land a special asset of the state,thus controlling the amount of land that could be planted in any one county.
- An end to monoculture plantations(all silka spruce)
- That Ireland must reach its 30% broadleaf commitments.
- Agroforestry to be considered by farming enterprises to mitigate the greenhouse gases produced on their farms.